Hello, I'm Arya Murali.
I was born and brought up in Palakkad, Kerala and went to Kendriya Vidyalaya No.1, Palakkad for 12 years.
At school, I wanted to become a physicist and I used to be that kid who sat in the last bench, trying to discover a symbol like a lambda and delta that I'd someday name Arya's constant!
But, I did not become a physicist. I instead took up Electronics and Communication Engineering from Government Engineering College, Thrissur.
For the past 2 years, I have been leading efforts at Google Women Techmakers, Cochin - supporting and building a community of women in tech.
I also tried by hand at building a startup. My team and I got selected to build a startup while in college as a part of the SV.CO program (We were in their first batch) for 6 months. We built Walat - A mobile app to perform cardless ATM transactions. After spending about 6 months on the product and exploring its viability (Yes, we spoke with potential customers - ICICI Bank, Federal Bank et al), we understood that Fintech is a tough market to enter. It made more sense to get some worldly experience and then get to building something of our own. So yes, we aren't working on it anymore :)
I was lucky enough to be one of the 18 girls from India to receive the WeTech Qualcomm Global scholarship. As a part of the scholarship, I received 5000$ and a 6-month virtual mentorship by one of the Engineers at Qualcom. Thanks to WeTech and Qualcomm for the opportunity!
I was also a Grace Hopper Student Scholar (2016) and got to attend GHCI in Bangalore, which is India's largest Women in Tech conference. If you are a woman in tech or know someone in tech, do pass on the word. The conference is organised by Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and sure is one of it's kind :)
In May 2016, I got the opportunity to attend Google I/O in California,USA with sponsorship from Google. I was sitting somewhere in the middle of Shoreline Amphitheatre, watching Sundar Pichai launch Google Home, Allo and Duo. My very first international travel experience couldn't have gotten any better!
In September 2016, I got selected to Jagriti Yatra. At JY, you live on a train and travel 8000km across India touching 12 destinations in 15 days. You get down in these destinations, visit the innermost corners of India and understand what reality is like. You get to interact with role models who are working on grass root development programs, trying to make India a better place.
Being a student, I couldn't afford to pay the Yatra fee of INR 62,000 and so I ran a crowdfunding campaign AruforJY to get support from people in my network. I was able to raise INR 68,650 in 5 days from 52 supporters. Both the crowdfunding campaign and the yatra were a phenomenal experience for me! I spoke about my crowdfunding experience and learning at TEDx MACE as well - A crowd sourced journey..
Over the course of time, I have been able to pick up a lot of skills owing to the exposure I received through these opportunities. However as it stands now, not all know about these opportunities and not many understand why they matter. This is why I'm on a mission to democratise opportunities.
This led me to lead the Opportunity Project at Rethink. We curate good opportunities, ensure that our youngsters are aware that such opportunities exist and work with them by offering information, capacity building and guidance. Our objective is to ensure that more and more of our students/youth are able to take advantage of these opportunities.
In the last once year, we've created this wikipedia of opportunities and built our a community with over 7000 students across India.
Over 300 students from our community have secured an opportunity of which 100+ are female students.
Given my fervour for diversity causes and initiatives, I currently run the Women in Tech Learning Program - a 4 week learning program for female engineering students, designed to equip them to leverage the various Women in Tech opportunities. This program happens to be the first of it's kind and is working out phenomenally well so far!
Other than that, I am an ENFP. I like meeting and interacting with people. But after every 2 days of active speaking and public engagement, I need a day for myself to just get back on my toes.
I love bright, sunny days and a perfect morning for me is waking up to melodies, journaling my random thoughts while sipping away some hot coffee. I have a thing for rush-free mornings.
I'm happiest when I'm creating things or adding value to the world around me. Anitagrace.in is a chat bot that provides information about the GHCI Student Scholarships and is a very recent 20% project of mine.
I blog about my learning, thoughts and experiences here.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.